Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour. It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space. The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.
ENTERING AND LEAVING ECUADOR: Ecuadorian authorities require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of your arrival in Ecuador. Visas are not required for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Tourist cards are prepared by your arriving airline. At present, there is a $40.80 departure tax in Ecuador, which is now rolled into the air ticket price by most airlines.
ARRIVAL DATE: While the tour starts with dinner at 6 p.m. on the evening of Day 1, you may be tempted by convenient flights arriving in Quito from the US late in the evening. If you elect such flights, please remember that flights can be delayed due to local fog among other reasons, and we will be flying to Coca in the morning on Day 2. If you can’t arrive before late evening, you may want to consider arriving a day early.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1106.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Ecuador at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ec.html.
HEALTH: Malaria is present in the Amazon basin of Eastern Ecuador, so a malaria prophylaxis is important. A Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for travelers who plan to be outside of urban areas.
The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list. Specific vaccinations and proof thereof may be required to enter the country. For entry and exit information please visit the U.S. State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html .
Biting insects are only occasionally a problem, and many areas are delightfully insect-free.
La Selva is an isolated jungle lodge. There are no local doctors, and emergency evacuation procedures are certain to be slow and expensive. Registrants should be in good physical condition before scheduling this trip.
Elevation: Quito is at about 9,000 feet in elevation and the airport and hotel are slightly higher. The tour itinerary takes place in the Amazon lowlands at about 1000 feet elevation. Note that La Selva has a 100 ft. canopy tower which we’ll ascend several times. It has adequate railings both on the semi-enclosed stairway and on the top platform.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
PACE OF THE TOUR: The condition of the trails at La Selva varies. Some are flat, others are hilly. When they’re dry, the trails are not difficult, although we traverse raised boardwalks and narrow bridges When the trails are wet, they can be slippery and difficult. February is a drier period here, and we hope for a visit with minimal rain. If we have a rainy period, the trails will be muddy and hill climbing will be difficult for the less agile.
Most days will be broken up into modules: we’ll go birding early in the morning returning before lunch, then a siesta, then spend some time in the canopy tower, and another birding excursion before dinner. A few of the days we’ll be longer away from the lodge and we’ll eat a boxed lunch on a forest trail or in a canoe.
CLIMATE: The climate in Quito is crisp and cool with chilly nights and pleasantly warm days. Rain is possible, but sunburn is more likely. At La Selva in the Amazonian lowlands, we can expect occasional rain and warm, muggy days with cooler nights.
ACCOMMODATIONS: La Selva is a luxury jungle lodge. The cabins are constructed of bamboo and wood and have screened windows. Each has one king or two double beds with good mattresses and mosquito netting. Each has its own bathroom with sink, flush toilet, and shower. Hot water is available 24 hours a day. The cabins are all separate but are connected by a common walkway to the bar and dining room. The entire lodge has recently undergone a major renovation, and several cabins now include a hot tub on the patio, a wood drying box for electronics, and multiple sinks in the bathroom. Deluxe suites may be available upon request (at a surcharged rate). We should note that occasionally spiders, crickets, mice or tree frogs find their way into the bathrooms.
FOOD: Meals at La Selva are wonderful and run the gamut of international fare, and often include lots of vegetables, great soups, various salads and splendid desserts to accompany the fresh meat, chicken and fish. Vegetarians are easily accommodated, but please let us know your preference in advance.
TRANPORTATION: Our flights from Quito to Coca and return are on standard commercial jets. Our canoes from Coca to La Selva are large and outboard moter driven with reasonably comfortable seats and a canopy for shade and rain protection. The canoes we use in La Selva are smaller, carrying about seven people plus the paddler, and open topped although we’re usually in the shade.
Created: 27 May 2014